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New tattoo? You might want to try CBD.

Planning a tattoo once lockdown lifts? Don’t forget your aftercare.

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It’s going to be a while before tattoo artists are allowed to open again, but with a surge in CBD tattoo aftercare products available to buy, we ask if it really works.

Big Market Research estimates that CBD skincare has been increasing in value from 2019 and is expected to continue to rise to 2026 at a steady rate of 24.80%. This could see the industry worth $3,484 million by that year. Tattoo aftercare products are carving out a slice of the pie.

Aftercare plays a big part in how your tattoo looks and heals. Tattoos are essentially open wounds and need to be kept clean, free from irritants, and allowed to heal as naturally as possible.

Remember to consult a tattoo artist before using any balms or oils on a tattoo.

Why CBD?

CBD balms could function as anti-inflammatory which would help to reduce the swelling and inflammation caused by the trauma of a tattoo. One of the ways that CBD is thought to reduce inflammation is by inhibiting an eicosanoid enzyme called COX2. Aspirin also targets COX2. One study in 2013 which explored the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD found that cannabinoid protected against the harmful effects of inflammation in a mouse model of Multiple Sclerosis.

CBD extracts can also be high in antioxidants, some more so than vitamin E creams. Antioxidants help to prevent or delay cell damage. Antioxidants prevent damage to your skin against molecules in the environment that can cause harm.

CBD is also thought to have analgesic properties. Sadly, this won’t reduce the pain felt during a tattoo but it could reduce the itching, redness and tenderness during the healing process.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Getting a tattoo is incredibly personal. It can be an anxious time as we anticipate pain and process the excitement of new artwork. CBD tinctures could help with the nerves and anticipation. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) says that CBD has been shown to reduce stress in animals such as rats for general anxiety disorder. Another patient group study has shown reduced anxiety in highly anxious subjects by taking CBD capsules. A large case series published in the Permanente journal found significantly reduced reports of anxiety among the participants.

“Anxiety scores decreased within the first month in 57 patients (79.2%) and remained decreased during the study duration.” 

– Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series

Bristol based tattoo artist Paula Castle takes CBD for her own pre-tattoo anxiety.

“I have a few drops of CBD before getting tattooed to calm anxiety. Thats the only way it needs to be used in tattooing.”

Looking after a tattoo in the long term ensures that the colour stays looking good and even. Look for CBD oil that contains vitamin E and A which can help a tattoo maintain its vibrancy.

Vitamin E, also rich in antioxidants, is an essential nutrient in the protection of cell membranes. These cell membranes become damaged during tattooing and cannot hold water. Vitamin E has anti-scarring properties.

CBD oil also can contain Vitamin A, which has compounds that includes retinol, retinal, and beta-carotene. Alongside skin-conditioning properties, Vitamin A has been shown to protect the skin from sun damage, one of the main causes for discolouration and fading of tattoos.

Photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash
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